Best Practices to Prioritize & Manage Customer Experience Improvement Efforts
By Jon Windley, Altitude CX CEO & Head Of CX Strategy
Customer Experience initiatives can influence so many things – product roadmaps, customer-base tiering, Account Management models, financial analysis, geographic market selection, shoe size…ok, probably not shoe size – unless you’re in the shoe industry, then absolutely!
Customer experience improvement efforts are a key reason to take an active approach to managing the customer journey. However, and I find this both frequent and surprising, most companies do not capture all of the various improvement projects in one place. These efforts are often scattered across the company. Culture improvement programs focused on guiding principles/education originate with HR. Process improvement (Six Sigma) projects emanate from a Program Management organization or are focused on a specific department like operations, billing, support, etc. IT-based systems improvement work focused on data accuracy, alignment, or workflow simplification.
Couple these disparate efforts with the impacts on the product, account management and the like, and the opportunity for unfocused chaos is frankly pretty high. The remedy? My “1~N” list.
In every CX initiative I have created, managed or consultative designed, I always take the same approach:
- Identify all efforts under way across the company that will impact people, process, or technology (the framework close to every consultant’s heart).
- Mandate that all efforts that directly impact the customer journey will require review, prioritization, and oversight using criteria established by the CX governance team. The intention here is to ensure the right investments are made, and that those investments truly result in a dramatically improved experience for your customers. So often these projects occur in a vacuum, one in which a particular department or process realizes improvement but at the expense of the customer and/or the rest of the company. To avoid this, there must be one set of criteria directly tied to improving key areas of improvement as identified through customer feedback.
- Establish the “1~N list. This is simple and fundamental. Decide the number of projects you will allow in flight, utilizing criteria based on financial investment, staff-based level of effort, the magnitude of impact, etc. The key is to set the number for N and stick to it. For example, if you decide that you will have a maximum of 25 projects in flight at any time, your list is “1~25.” Once you have decided on a number, stick to it. No doubt you will have teams, individuals, and executives demanding that they have the secret 8 ball magic solution and it must move to the front of the line…pleading that you ”please bend the rules just this once!” Stand your ground.
Bottom line, tight control of CX improvement efforts, well aligned with overall CX goals, is the key to realizing real improvements. Establishing a clear view from customer feedback through CX improvement criteria to managed improvement efforts is essential to a successful CX initiative!
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